Attract Guests with (the Right) Outdoor Seating

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

restaurant outdoor seatingThere’s no question customers love outdoor dining in the spring and summer. In fact, many restaurateurs report that patrons would rather wait for a table on the patio than be seated immediately indoors. So if you’re looking for a proven way to attract even more guests to your establishment this season, follow these tips to make sure you do outdoor seating right:

  • Confirm that your available outdoor space is suited to customer seating. At a minimum, this means having enough square footage that the tables aren’t crowded too close together. A pleasant view of the surroundings wouldn’t hurt, either.
  • Select weatherproof furniture that is durable yet comfortable. The pieces should be easy to clean and the general style should fit with your restaurant’s overall decorative concept.
  • Protect your customers from the elements with the help of patio umbrellas, awnings, and natural insect repellents like lavender, basil, lemongrass, and citronella.
  • Add extra lighting in the form of tiki torches, Chinese lanterns, tea lights, and other decorative options so customers and staff for visibility after sunset.
  • Consider putting a portable refrigerator or back bar storage cooler near the outdoor seating area to facilitate serving larger happy hour and weekend crowds.
  • Hire seasonal help (if necessary) to ensure you have enough employees to handle the influx of customers.
  • Get all the necessary permits and licenses required by your state or municipality so you can be in compliance with the law and avoid penalties, fines, or even a shutdown.
  • Advertise your newly opened patio space, and generate even more interest by hosting special events such as live music or game nights.

If you have the space and resources to set up an outdoor seating area this summer, you should be able to attract many more guests so long as you use the above tips to help get things right.

Get Ready for Summer Drinks

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

summer drinks 2

Summer beverage sales have the potential to contribute big bucks to a restaurant’s bottom line. The profit margins for alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages alike are among the highest in the food service industry, and can provide your establishment with a welcome boost in what might otherwise be a slow season. Check out these great tips on how to get ready for summer drinks:

  • Invest in a Bunn frozen drink dispenser to help cut down on the prep and cleanup time involved in serving perennial summer favorites like daiquiris, margaritas, and slushies.
  • Swap out hot coffee, tea, and other popular beverages for iced and cold brewed versions to allow customers to get their caffeine kick in a more refreshing form.
  • Offer drinks that contain less alcohol by volume. These are often lighter, brighter, more flavorful, less dehydrating and thus ultimately more satisfying than heavier alcoholic beverages in the summer.
  • Add food elements such as candied fruit, edible stir sticks, and interesting garnishes that make drinks more fun and visually appealing.
  • Target your health-conscious patrons with delicious green or fruit smoothies. Peaches and strawberries are especially popular in summer, so be sure to stock your inventory accordingly.
  • Think outside the fruit basket and try using fresh vegetables in beverages to yield a more savory result.
  • Experiment with alcohol infused dessert drinks to increase after-dinner sales. Vodka milkshakes, lemon drop dessert shots, and alcoholic ice cream or sorbet are a few easy ones to start with.

Getting your restaurant, food truck, or kiosk ready for summer drinks can be achieved with a few menu modifications, a commercial frozen drink dispenser, and a willingness to try new things. Put your own twist on these ideas to keep your customers coming back all season.

Raising the Bar for the Holiday Season

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

group of friends at bar during the holidays‘Tis the season, as they say… to raise the bar! Did you know that alcohol consumption goes up 12% over the holidays? As a bar owner or restaurant owner, this is not news. Though it comes with increased liabilities, it can also come with margin-rich sales. Responsible service of alcohol during the holiday season is a real profit center. How can you make it more profitable? Well, here are some ideas:

Charge more:

Did you know that increasing your sale price yields far more profit than cutting your costs an equal amount? Seems like it doesn’t make sense? Think again. I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Google to test my statement. Consider raising your prices slightly over the holiday season. If demand increases by 12%, you can assume that there is less overall price sensitivity during the holiday season. ‘Tis the season!


Top Tips for Running the Show Behind the Bar

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Bartender Serving drinksRunning a bar seems like a fairly straightforward and common operation. Open doors, serve drinks, count tips, close shop, right? However, once you realize that about 50 percent of bars fail within the first 3 years, the picture gets a little more complicated. How does an owner effectively operate a bar? What are the tricks of the trade? It starts with getting your act together behind the counter. We’ve assembled a short list of the most important tips to keep in mind when running your bar.



1. Sanitation First

Keeping your bar sanitary should be your first priority, and that’s why it’s first on the list. Making sure that your glasses are properly cleaned and dried may seem like a simple enough task, but if done incorrectly it can lead to complaints, loss of business, and/or legal trouble. The two key elements to keeping your glasses clean are the Hobart Dish Machine and the Eagle Drainboard Glassrack. The dish machine will clean all types of glasses in a matter of minutes, and the glassrack is the best way to make sure the glasses are properly sanitized, drained, and dried by the time they’re handed over to the next customer. Both units are well-designed to fit right under the bartop for easy access. (more…)

Drink Trends in 2014: What’s New at the Bar So Far?

Monday, May 5th, 2014

drinks-trendsAlright, What’s Cooking readers. Let’s take a break from the blender tongue-twisters and bad range jokes and get businesslike about what’s being served at the bar. Last time we checked in, 2014 drink trend forecasts were predicting that premium alcohols, spices, infusions, cider, on-tap drinks, and mixed drinks featuring different types of alcohol would be popular this year, all with a heavy emphasis on the millennial demographic. How are the predictions measuring up so far? New drink trend results are in, so fire up your blenders and have your cocktail shakers at the ready. Here’s what’s going on right now behind the bar.

Savor(y) the Flavor

Restaurant research giant Technomic is reporting that savory drinks are stronger than ever—and we mean that both figuratively and literally. Micheladas are cropping up on menus nationwide and Bloody Marys are showing an 8.7% increase in menu incidences. Plus, the 3 fastest-growing flavors year-over-year in specialty drinks are chipotle, bacon, and Cajun. Likewise, an interesting savory trend in drinks is popping up due to a lime shortage. Vinegar is the “it” ingredient in cocktails according to David Flaherty for Nation’s Restaurant News. Vinegar is being used as an acid component in place of lime or lemon, an (more…)

The Wild Whirled of Bar Blender Basics

Monday, April 21st, 2014

WaringBB180Here’s a tongue twister for you, bartenders:

Betty Bartender bought a blender. “But,” she said, “this blender’s battered.
If I want a blended beverage, I better buy a better blender.”
So Betty ‘Tender bought a blender better than her battered blender,
and when her beverages were blended, Betty’s bar was better tended.

Betty knows a better blender when she sees one. But do you? Bar blenders come in all shapes and sizes, and if you have margaritas, daiquiris, or any number of tasty blended drinks on your bar menu, you need the right blender to keep up with your customers’ demands. Buy a better blender, ‘tenders. Here are the top questions you should ask before purchasing new bar blenders.

What intensity blender do I need?

There are three classes of commercial bar blenders: economy, restaurant, and heavy-duty. Evaluate how much work your blender will be doing and choose a blender class accordingly. If your bar menu tends toward blended drinks, especially those with large ice cubes or frozen fruit, opt for a blender with a higher horsepower.


How to Be a Wine Connoisseur

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

How to Be a Wine ConnoisseurSo, it’s wine o’ clock at your restaurant, and you have no idea what wine to serve your customers. Don’t worry; ShortOrder is here to help. We’ve put together a short four-step plan that will turn you into a wine guru.

1. Develop Your Own Wine Palate
If you have never been one for the taste of wine, we suggest starting out with a modest wine. For example, many white wine-only drinkers who want to try the world of red wine start out with a nice Malbec, because its flavor isn’t as bold as, say, a Merlot or Cabernet. Also, to help you truly experience all of the flavors, we suggest that you make sure to swish each sip around your mouth instead of just throwing it back.


Get Out Your Bar Equipment: It’s American Craft Beer Week!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

If you think you’ve missed American Craft Beer Week, don’t worry! Stock your bar equipment and get ready for this weekend. American Craft Beer Week runs through this Sunday, May 19th, so you still have plenty of time to find a craft beer to serve with the bar equipment at your business or enjoy at your favorite watering hole.

What is American Craft Beer Week? It’s a week dedicated to celebrating the small and independent craft breweries that populate this fine nation. (As of June 2012, 2,075 of America’s 2,126 breweries were local craft brewers.) The Brewers Association, the national non-profit association behind ACBW, has called it “The Mother of All Beer Weeks.” ACBW gives all bars, restaurants, and purveyors of alcoholic beverages a reason to feature beers from their local breweries, bringing craft beer fans together to drink and make merry. For a list of craft beer events going on this weekend, check out’s events calendar.

But why not make your own ACBW fun? Or for that matter, make every week American Craft Beer Week? Stock up your bar equipment with local brews and prepare for success. It’s not just generous to support your local breweries—it can also be advantageous to your business. No longer a niche market, craft brew is gaining in popularity; so much so that major chains like Chili’s are putting their bar equipment to use by featuring craft brews on their menus. Additionally, in the “What’s Hot in 2013 Alcohol Survey” by the National Restaurant Association, locally-produced beer was the #1 predicted trend in beer for 2013, with craft beer and house-brewed beer following close behind in 3rd and 4th places. And according to Jennifer Zegler, a beverage analyst for the Mintel market research consultancy, “…craft beer has kept an upward trajectory throughout the economic downturn and subsequent slow recovery,” outdoing domestic and imported beer counterparts.

Do you stock craft beer in your restaurant? What’s your favorite craft beer? How do you use your bar equipment? Find ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and let us know how you’re featuring local brews with your restaurant bar equipment these days.


Beverage-Air Glass Chiller GF48L-B: Making Ice Cubes Jealous

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

From colas to lemonade and especially beer (at least in the United States!), we generally to enjoy our food hot and our drinks cold. Marketing campaigns spend millions today touting the latest technological innovations in helping consumers realize their beverage is at an ideal temperature. Yet, you won’t need to create a marketing campaign the size of a Goldman Sachs hedge fund to chill your customers’ beverages perfectly. You only need a Beverage-Air Glass Chiller GF48L-B from Short Order to make your drinks as cold as an Alaskan winter.  Just take it from seminal rappin’-blues band G. Love and Special Sauce who buzz about the enjoyment of a “Cold Beverage,” singing, “Give me frosty mug.”

Whether it’s a draft of malts, hops and yeast poured from a bottle or tap, an oddly named but delicious cocktail with stir sticks and umbrellas or a soft drink to help wash down a fabulous meal, a high-quality glass chiller from Beverage-Air refrigerators will make your ice cubes jealous and your customers happy. The GF48L-B is an ideal size at 48 inches high and 9.6 cubic feet of space — that should meet the cold drink demands of your establishment any time of day or night. A stainless steel interior and black vinyl over a steel exterior make this glass chiller both sturdy and attractive. The built-in condensation evaporator system removes the need for floor drains or plumbing, and adding swivel casters means you can simply roll and relocate the unit to any location necessary. Yet, what would a capable glass chiller be if it didn’t make frosty mugs? All Beverage-Air Glass Chillers rapidly chill mugs and glasses to below zero temperatures.

Here at Short Order we gave this glass chilling, cold beverage engine a 5-Star rating and Editors Choice. We also carry an assortment of other glass chillers from Glastender bar equipment and True refrigeration that will ensure your customers enjoy a frosty mug on each and every visit.


Hobart Glass Washers: Perfect for the Busy Bartender

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

What is a bartender’s worst nightmare? We are pretty sure the possibilities for that category are endless. However, a lack of clean glasses on a busy night does not have to be one of them. That’s why Hobart glass washers from Hobart are a perfect choice to help make a hard-pressed night behind the bar just a little bit easier.

For bartenders, challenges such as demanding patrons, spilled drinks and changing beer taps are all in a good night’s work. And during the bar rush, multi-tasking takes on a whole new meaning. However, with Hobart glass washers, the during and after dish cleanup is a cinch. With an ability to clean and sanitize 30 racks per hour, your bar or restaurant staff can focus on what you do best – serving customers and spending less time stopping to find clean glasses.  Hobart glass washers provide the quality you’ve come to expect from the makers of Hobart slicers.

The Hobart Glass Washer LXIGH+BUILDUP/208-240/1 is a great choice for fast, hot water cleaning that gets out of the bartender’s way. With dimensions of 24″W x 33.75″H x 26.75″D, this washing system easily fits under most countertops and offers convenient access without obstructing the flow of employee traffic behind the bar. Likewise, the Hobart Glass Washer LXIH-3 also offers hot water sanitation and, with dimensions of 26.9375″W x 33.75″H x 26.75″D, is just slightly larger than its LXIGH counterpart.

If you would prefer the advantages of a great Glass Washer using chemical sanitation instead of hot water, the Hobart Glass Washer LXIC-5 is another excellent choice. This fabulous machine also fits under most countertops with dimensions of 23.9375″W x 33.75″H x 26.75″D.

All three Hobart glass washers received 5-Star ratings at Short Order, your leading choice for top-notch restaurant equipment, and come with automatic fill, two dish racks, upper and lower anti-clogging wash arms and more.

Hobart glass washers can not only help eliminate at least one bartender nightmare for your bar or restaurant, but you can also be a hero to your staff too.


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